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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Slut Lullabies

This was probably the most bizarre purchase decision I've ever made. I was buying Loose Girl, a diary of some kind of tawdry behavior, and this book was one of Amazon's "frequently purchased with" selections. I must have had some extra money or been feeling some kind of a sense of entitlement that day because I hit the "buy them both" button and two days later they arrived at my garage door in a small flat Amazon box.

Both of them sat on my bookshelf for a long while.  Have you seen my backlog?  Here's a representative photo:

[caption id="attachment_481" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="I hope I read these all someday."][/caption]

You can see that they're double layered, except for the bottom shelf which is trade paperbacks on their sides.  I also have two boxes full of books by my bed.  At the pace of one per week I have a lifetime of reading on the shelves alone.  Having a Kindle and Nook adds to my "what should I read" decision debacle whenever I finish something and can't decide what I'm in the mood for next.

So I chose to read Slut Lullabies because I wanted to read some short stories and because I wanted something a little thinner than 300 pages.  The book has 10 stories in it, all of them are 15-30 pages long and all of them feature women as the main characters. Almost all of the stories include some straightforward descriptions of sex.  I didn't find them to be tawdry or shocking though, they read more like diary entries.  The characters are from different walks of life, some single, some married, some teenagers and some in their 30s.

The stories were all pretty entertaining, Gina Frangello even used some cool literary techniques like playing around with a stream of consciousness type point of view on one story about two couples who went on a cruise together. Another of the stories was about a teen aged girl who's mother keeps bringing home different men and takes flack from her friends for it. All of the characters were interesting and the stories all had a decent narrative so I don't remember having a moment of not wanting to pick it back up.

Would I recommend it? That's a complex question for this book, it's not like Annie Proulx's  Wyoming Stories which had some strong content but had such a sense of place and character that it becomes a cultural commentary. These stories were more entertainments, like good episodes of Laverne and Shirley. Honestly this book sits in a narrow niche, stories about women that are not romances where the stories revolve around relationships but it's not quite high literature. If something like that sounds appealing it will be at a used book bin near you, right next to the Sheteyngart novels.

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